On The Cover

Versace Concrete Solutions & Wacker Neuson

Wacker Neuson

Running a small business is filled with unique challenges, dealing with the ever-moving goal posts that business operators face requires a great team and reliable equipment, staff and suppliers; not to mention unwavering motivation. For Giovanni Versace, Director of Versace Concrete Solutions, there’s a proud Italian heritage coming from a long line of concreters. Giovanni doesn’t have to look hard for inspiration – his young family is his motivation and wife Brooke is the backbone of the business. With their great relationship with Jackson Equipment Sales and Wacker Neuson, the future has never looked brighter for Giovanni and his team who are going from strength to strength.

Giovanni has been in the construction industry since the age of 14, working for both larger companies and subcontracting to smaller ones. About five years ago, Giovanni realised it was time to stop breaking his back working for other companies and instead start his own business and build a future for his family. “Coming from a long line of Italian concreters, it’s in my blood. I’ve had an interest in machinery and trucks from a young age like most little boys do. I was a boy who came from housing commission in western Sydney, and having my mother (a single mother with four boys all aged four and under) work three jobs just to keep food on the table, to now having everything I have today is a huge deal for me. I’m able to give my children more than I ever had,” said Giovanni.

Giovanni had a clear vision of the type of concreting business he wanted to run – to have as many elements as possible (if not all) fulfilled inhouse. Giovanni shared, “With the majority of our work being concrete works, I decided to buy all my own machinery/equipment so it was all inhouse and I wouldn’t need to subcontract out my work or pay to hire someone else’s machinery. For me, the whole experience of having my own business has been a series of challenges. Right when you think you’ve got everything down pat, something will come up just to throw a spanner in the works and test you, like covid. You never stop learning new things when you have your own business.”

Wacker Neuson

In their day-to-day operations, Versace Concrete Solutions primarily use excavators and skid steers. After having varying levels of success with other brands of machines and suppliers, Giovanni and Brooke have settled in very nicely with the Wacker Neuson brand, which they purchase from Jim and Michael from Jackson Equipment Sales. “We have been dealing with Jim from Jacksons in Newcastle and Michael from Jacksons in Sydney. We had dealt with many others before coming over to Jacksons and their customer service was second to none. They always provide constant updates and make casual phone call check ins to make sure we are happy with the product and getting the most out of it. It’s been so appreciated and they really know their stuff,” said Giovanni.

Giovanni continued, “Our very first machine was an old 4 tonne Yama with an open cab. During the last two years we have purchased our Wacker Neuson EZ17 Excavator, Ride on Trowel Machine, two Wacker Neuson walk behinds and we are now in the process of purchasing a 4 tonne excavator all from Jacksons.”

The Wacker Neuson brand is built off the back of great strengths such as reliability, fuel efficiency, breakout force and digging power. When I chatted to Giovanni and Brooke, it’s pretty clear that this has been their exact experience with their machines, but it was the Wacker Neuson EZ17 we were keen to hear more about. Giovanni happily shared, “Our machine is reliable and the boys have enjoyed the power and performance, which transfers directly over to efficient onsite performance. Plus, the quick hitch as a standard feature is what really got us over the line with the EZ17. Not having to break your back changing buckets and even just saving time is great. Being a smaller machine, the adjustable tracks help for tight access with a lot of our residential jobs, which have limited access betweenhouses in newer estates.”

Having the right equipment that performs reliably and efficiently is only half the equation. The other part is having the relationship with your supplier and getting the service you need, when you need it. After struggling in this area in the past, both Brooke and Giovanni seem to embrace the importance of this with their relationship with Jacksons. They shared, “I believe we will always have a very fruitful relationship with Jim and Michael. I wouldn’t go anywhere other than Jacksons for advice and sales for our machinery because they have always gone above and beyond for us. One time I had a specific job that required an auger, and the wait time was going to be a few weeks, which wasn’t going to help me. However, Jim and Michael being the legends they are, had a spare one in the warehouse, which they gave to me to use until my new auger arrived. If that isn’t top-notch customer service and keeping your existing customers satisfied, I don’t know what is.”

Mike De Bono has only been with the team at Jacksons for six months but has an impressive history with Wacker Neuson of over 15 years, in which he has built up an extensive knowledge of all things Wacker. This experience places him in an excellent position with clients like Versace Concrete Solutions.

When I chatted with Mike on site while we filmed Giovanni and his team prepping for a slab, he shared, “My role is Sales Manager Sydney and I have been with Jackson Equipment Sales going on six months, however have been in a working relationship with Ben for four and a half years. This stems back to when I was the State Manager of Wacker Neuson Sydney and my total time spent at Wacker Neuson was 15 years, with the last two years working for another company. Giovanni and Brooke have purchased the EZ17, various Wacker Neuson concreting trowel machines and are now in the process of finalising a new EZ36 cabin with VDS mini excavator to add to their fleet.”

Michael continued, “With its compact design the EZ17 offers good value with the way we order this machine in. It comes with a great list of features, including factory fitted hydraulic hitch as standard, long dipper stick providing the customer 2486mm digging depth and maximum dumping height of 2550mm, rear counterweight to counteract the long dipper, and powerful 18.2hp engine. The high thermal resistance, which means this machine can work in up to 45 degrees Celsius without loss of performance and optimally match hydraulics LUDV (load sensing pumps), ensures excellent digging power and sensitive control. Also included are steel grooved pins and bushes and retractable tracks 900mm-1300mm with dozer blade extensions, which provide superior stability and optimal maintenance access.

“The EZ17 has such an impressive list of features that benefit the end user for concreters and other operators who regularly work in tight spaces, fitting through sub 800mm openings, to drilling 600mm holes with the auger drive. The canopy is also removable and it only takes undoing four bolts to fit funder garage doors. All this combines to create a perfect allrounder excavator.

“Our working relationship with the Versace team is only getting stronger because they make us part of their team and love discussing their growth opportunities with us, as we too make them part of our business by helping out. Whether it’s advising them on new attachments or new products that will benefit them, through to our service capabilities, both our relationships are built on trust,” said Michael.

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